The Canadian Campaign
At length the wretches raise themselves up . . . wade through the mire to the next steep and gaze up at its summit, contemplating what they must suffer before they reach it. –They attempt it, catching at every tree and shrub they can lay hold of–their feet fly from them–they fall down–to rise no more.
–anonymous account of the overland journey to Quebec
While Washington organized in front of Boston, the Continental Congress had other plans for the patrician Philip Schuyler, and these aimed at a venture considerably north of Boston. In fact, Congress had been looking at Canada with a covetous and a fearful eye for some time. (A cordial invitation to Canadians to join their American cousins in resisting British “tyranny” had already been coolly declined.) American control of Canada would secure the northern flank of the “United Provinces.” In British hands it would be a vast staging area for an invasion into the heart of the northern colonies, raising, in the words of General Horatio Gates, “a Nest of Hornets at our backs that will sting us to the quick.” For it would be difficult to exaggerate the strategic importance of the great watershed between the Green Mountains and Adirondacks. Here Lake George and Lake Champlain flow north to the Richelieu River, which in turn flows north to empty its waters into the St. Lawrence below Montreal. A few miles south of Lake George are the headwaters of the Hudson, rolling down to New York and its Atlantic harbor. Whoever commanded the lakes might ultimately command all of North America from Quebec to New York. Especially troubling to Congress was this profound danger: British control of the Hudson would isolate New England. With Gage on his front in Boston and another army on the march at his back, Washington would be overwhelmed–and with him the rebellion. Beyond this sound strategic thinking, another motive may have been at work in the minds of the delegates. This watershed had been fought over before by empire builders, the French and the English. Americans, though not yet a nation, were not immune to the imperial virus. Canada was rich–and its conquest would enrich America.
But if Congress was going to do something purposeful at least to secure its northern flank, it needed to do so fairly soon. The British garrison in Canada was vulnerable now since the bulk of it had gone to Gage in Boston. No one doubted that the following spring would see scores of British ships sailing up the St. Lawrence with thousands of redcoats aboard. At least one American, Major John Brown, already in the north country, could see that the danger was considerably closer to hand than next spring. The British commander in Canada, Governor Sir Guy Carleton, was building boats on the lower reaches of Champlain, and Brown urged that “some effectual measures be immediately entered into to keep command of this lake.” In the last week of June Congress sent out an order to Schuyler, oddly tentative considering it authorized an invasion of a foreign land: “if [he] finds it practicable, and that it will not be disagreeable to the Canadians,” he should march at once and seize St. Johns, Montreal, and “any other parts of the country” he thought proper. As it turned out, though, the great invasion of Canada was already on its way without its commander. Brown’s urgent warning had reached Fort Ticonderoga in Schuyler’s absence, and his second-in-command was not one to drag his feet. Not so long ago Richard Montgomery had served king and country in both the regular army and Parliament. Failing to rise in the army, he settled in the Hudson Valley and soon embraced an American heiress and the American cause. Now a brand-new brigadier, he commanded a force of some 1,200–Green Mountain Boys from the Grants, a Connecticut outfit, and a New York regiment that he described as “the sweepings of the York streets.” Whatever their fitness, Montgomery meant to put them to work immediately.
At sunset on 28 August he put his rag-tag army aboard a rag-tag fleet (the schooner Liberty, the sloop Enterprise, and an odd assortment of galleys and bateaux), and down the lake they went headed toward the conquest of Canada. Their immediate aim was the fort at St. John’s on the Richelieu. About midway from the foot of the lake and Montreal, it was now garrisoned by a small detachment of Regulars, a handful of Canadian militia, and a few guns, and commanded by Major Sir Charles Preston. The invaders came ashore at the head of the Richelieu (where Schuyler, their commander, had at last caught up to his command). As they started to slog north, however, they were beginning to form a clearer idea of the immensity of the task before them–and the dark immensity of this wild north country. The country ahead was virtually trackless, and the column crawled along, dragging its few guns and wagons behind. Then it began to rain–and would not stop. Wet, exhausted, hungry men are acutely vulnerable to all manner of disease, and now the column, already undermanned, was further reduced by the sick it left behind. It wasn’t until the first part of September that Schuyler was within reach of the fort. Then, hearing an exaggerated report of the strength of the garrison ahead, he promptly lost his nerve and ordered the column to fall back on Isle aux Noix–churning the same muddy dozen miles they had just come. On 10 September he returned and attacked, but it wasn’t much of a blow–except to American pride. The attacking units got confused in the murk, collided with one another, fired some odd shots, and ran off. Schuyler now decided he was too sick to continue and returned to Fort Ticonderoga.
Schuyler’s departure would be about the only good fortune the Americans would have for a time, but it was not much at that. On 16 September Montgomery took them back to the fort to settle in for a regular siege, intending to batter or starve Preston’s 700 men into submission. The battering did not go well. Montgomery’s guns were, first off, too few and too light. Then, too, the torrents of rain turned the siege lines into bottomless muck. “Whenever we attempt to raise batteries,” one weary colonial wrote, “the water follows in the ditch.” Indeed, as Montgomery himself granted, “We have been like half-drowned rats crawling through a swamp.” For two miserable months both sides hung on, toughing it out on increasingly short rations. In truth, it was far from clear whether the besiegers or the besieged would be starved out first. It was nearly November when Montgomery sent a small force marching towards Preston’s rear. Some fifty Americans and 300 sympathetic Canadians seized a British post downriver at Chambly. With his line to Montreal cut, Preston surrendered (and received generous terms) on 2 November. Three days later Montgomery, refitted as best he could, pressed northward again, as one man wrote, “to new Sieges and new Conquests.” But he might well pray that he did not have to spend much time before the walls of Montreal: “Under our Feet was Snow and Ice and water, over our Heads Clouds Snow and rain, before us the mountains appeared all white with Snow and Ice.” The column reached Montreal in a ten days’ march. Sir Guy Carleton was there, but with barely 150 men under arms the island city was impossible to defend. On 12 November Carleton, governor general of all Canada, slipped quietly down the St. Lawrence to Quebec disguised as a farmer. The next day Montgomery’s weary men took possession of Montreal and began to consider what it would take to seize the fortress city downriver.
In fact another column of Americans was already at the gates of Quebec, but these were, if possible, even wearier than Montgomery’s men. On 13 November–the same day Montgomery took Montreal–Colonel Benedict Arnold lead some 600 Americans across the St. Lawrence to the city walls. They had come, incredibly, overland, alternately poling and slogging across the Maine wilderness from the mouth of the Kennebec River to Point Levi opposite Quebec. On the map at any rate the expedition made perfectly good sense: Arnold’s column, a thousand strong, would ascend the Kennebec in bateaux, portage overland to the Dead River, then pole upstream to Height of Land. Once over the divide, it was just a hike to the headwaters of the Chaudiere and then all downstream to the St. Lawrence and Quebec. With Arnold at Quebec and Montgomery at Montreal, something had to give. It would be a demanding journey of 180 miles, but it looked feasible. What the map did not show, however, the men would soon discover in the wilderness: the power of the currents pushing them back toward the sea, the waterfalls and furious rapids, the steep and trackless wastes over which they would have to haul their boats. Nor was the map quite right about the distance: Quebec was twice as far away as Arnold believed.
Still, there was every reason to expect good things from the effort. The troops were sound, a thousand volunteers, many of them experienced woodsmen, ten companies of Yankees and three of Pennsylvania and Virginia riflemen. At the head of the riflemen was Daniel Morgan himself, a powerfully built Virginian with scores to settle with the British. Five hundred scores to be exact: the number of lashes laid on his bare back for striking a British officer back in the last French war. Nor could Washington have made a better choice than Arnold to command. He had had already shown ability, energy, and initiative in the north country. The expedition had Washington’s blessing, but with it went a warning to its commander: “Use all possible expedition, as the winter season is now advancing. Upon the success of this enterprise, under God . . . the safety and welfare of the whole continent may depend.” (Arnold would also carry Washington’s proclamation to the “generous citizens” of Canada, inviting them, once more, to march with America “under the standard of General Liberty.”) On 13 September Arnold’s column marched out of Cambridge, headed for Newburyport and the ships that would take them to the mouth of the Kennebec. By the 22nd they were ashore again at Gardinerstown, now shifting their gear to the 200 bateaux (double-ended, flat-bottomed boats) that they expected would take them to the St. Lawrence. Up the Kennebec they went–and into a wilderness ordeal that the survivors would never forget.
The Kennebec was, for one thing, swifter and narrower than anybody expected. Green boats and green boatmen tumbled into boiling rapids; boats broke up and were abandoned; supplies were lost or hopelessly spoiled. Two weeks of struggling from first light to last took them only as far as Norridgewock Falls–less than thirty air miles from where they started. The portage here took three mortal days, and that was a stroll in the park compared to the portage that awaited them at the Great Carrying Place ahead. By the time the exhausted and hungry men hauled their boats and themselves from the Kennebec to the Dead River, they had already used more time and eaten more food than Arnold had figured for the entire expedition. Hugging the banks of the turbulent river and pulling their boats behind, they pressed on. On 19 October the rains came–three days and nights–turning the Dead River valley into a dark, cold, sullen lake. Still, they slogged on. One among them left a vivid record of their struggle: “At length the wretches raise themselves up . . . wade through the mire to the next steep and gaze up at its summit, contemplating what they must suffer before they reach it. –They attempt it, catching at every tree and shrub they can lay hold of–their feet fly from them–they fall down–to rise no more.” Sick, shivering, starving, they boiled and ate candles, soap, shoe leather, cartridge boxes–even Captain Dearborn’s black dog. Many were now so weak “they could hardly stand on their legs”; others simply slumped over “wholly drowned in sorrow.”
On 25 October Colonel Roger Enos of Connecticut and a third of the original command turned back. Enos would later be charged–quite unfairly–with cowardice, for with three hundred fewer mouths to feed, it might still be possible for Arnold to reach the St. Lawrence. Even so, by the time the column staggered on to reach Height of Land in the last days of October, a hundred men had perished in the wilderness. Once on the St. Lawrence side of the watershed, Arnold left his gaunt command in the snow on the shore of Lake Megantic. Taking a small party of the strongest, he pressed on down the roaring Chaudiere (fittingly, the Caldron) toward the Canadian settlements ahead. Here they were met–to the “inexpressible joy” of the Americans–by sympathetic Canadians, fresh meat, and the first bread they had seen since plunging into the wilderness on the Kennebec. On 2 November they returned to save their starving comrades, who, we may well believe, ate their fill and “blessed [their] stars.” Thus delivered, Arnold got them back on their feet and tramped on once more down the Chaudiere in a nasty squall. On 8 November they halted at Point Levi on the St. Lawrence: on the opposite shore were the walls of Quebec. It may be that there is today no more ignominious name in the national memory than Benedict Arnold’s, but on this day Arnold and the 650 gristly men who remained finished a march well worth remembering.
Arnold of course had not come all these brutal miles just to gaze at the rocky face of Quebec. Two important considerations made him think he might win glory here as Wolfe had a generation before. First, despite its stout walls and rugged heights, the citadel was lightly defended. Carleton had only a handful of Regulars, some Canadian militiamen of doubtful fitness and commitment, and an assortment of soldiers and marines from two warships on the river. Second, Arnold had at last made contact with Montgomery. Leaving behind sketchy garrisons at Montreal and St. John’s, the latter floated downriver with about 400 men still fit for battle. On 2 December the two commands met at Pointe aux Trembles twenty miles above the city, and the two commanders huddled in a council of war. Between them they had, like Carleton, just over a thousand men, a pathetically small force with which to attack so formidable a fortress, but still a bold stroke might succeed. A siege here seemed out of the question. The Americans were short on powder and ball and scant on supplies–and a deep north country winter was already descending. Even if they had the means to sustain a siege, most of the Americans in the ranks were eight-months men. Their enlistments expired with the old year, and it was hard to believe that men who had suffered so much in simply getting here would shiver out the winter in a futile attempt to outcamp warm and well-fed defenders. If the Americans intended to seize Quebec, they must do so with some dispatch.
Carleton, meanwhile, had not been sitting on his hands while the Americans approached. As Wolfe’s quartermaster general, he had had a share in seizing this city; he was not the least inclined to surrender it now. Montgomery had in fact sent an ultimatum into the city, demanding precisely that. Carleton tossed it into the fire unread. Carleton’s will to resist had already been stiffened by a measure of good fortune. When Arnold emerged from the wilderness early in November, he had an honest chance of storming into a virtually undefended city. But it had taken him several days to scare up enough boats to get his command over the river, and by the time he got his transport, vicious storms of rain and snow kept him on the south bank. In the meantime, a hard-bitten Highlander, Allan Maclean, made a determined march with a small body of Regulars and Loyalists down from St. John’s. He had been unable to relieve that post, but his timely arrival at Quebec was enough to forestall Arnold. While the Americans sparred inconclusively with Maclean’s men west of the city, Carleton continued to strengthen the natural defenses of his fortress with palisades and blockhouses. His walls mounted 150 guns and stone bastions fronted the approach from the west. Although his lines were more thinly manned than he would have liked, they ran from the Diamond bastion on the St. Lawrence all the way north to the Palace Gate on the St. Charles basin. And while Carleton had learned a great deal from the tutelage of Wolfe the conqueror, he had learned something at least as valuable from Montcalm the conquered. Montcalm had come out of his citadel to fight the redcoats on the Plains of Abraham only to see his army shattered and his city lost. If the Americans wanted this city, Carleton was determined, they would have to break in.
And as December drew toward a close, it was clear to Montgomery and Arnold that breaking into the city somehow was about the only move left on the board. Montgomery admitted that he was sorry that their venture had come to “storming the place . . . at last” and frankly expected “melancholy consequences.” Their plan was as desperate as it was bold: they would wait for the first stormy night and drive into the city with the storm. Montgomery would march down the Wolfe’s Cove-Cape Diamond Road, hugging the St. Lawrence side, break through the Diamond bastion, and push toward the Lower Town. Arnold would march down the St. Roche Road, just to the north of Montgomery, and force the Palace Gate. Once the two columns met in the Lower Town, they would together turn, drive up Mountain Street, and seize the Upper Town. The odds were long and success depended on Arnold and Montgomery drawing three cards: snow, surprise, and above all expedition. Snow they got, late on the afternoon of 30 December, a scouring storm that blew hard through the night and into the next morning. In that snow-swept, pre-dawn darkness, the attacking columns assembled at their jumping-off points, pinned pieces of white paper to their caps to help tell friend from foe, and waited for the signal to march. (It is not hard to imagine the thoughts of men whose enlistments were up in less than twenty-four hours and who could, if they outived this day, head home officially and honorably to their firesides.) The signal came a little before five o’clock: rockets soaring into the snowy sky, followed soon after by the crash of American mortars on the St. Roche Road. With both commanders at the head of the columns, the attackers started off through the drifts toward the darkened city.
The defenders, though, were not asleep, and by no means surprised. A deserter had already betrayed to Carleton the American plan to strike on the first “wild night,” and now their alarm guns and all the clanging bells of the city called Carleton’s men to their stations. These were not first-line troops. Some, it seems, were already quite drunk; others were prepared to flee when they saw their chance. Although Montgomery’s column did not make good time on the ice-choked road from Wolfe’s Cove, the disorder among the defenders made it possible for them to cut their way through the first two palisades that barred the way to the Lower Town. Ahead, however, was a sturdy blockhouse, mounting four guns and commanded by a Regular, Sergeant Hugh McQuarters, who would do his king signal service this day. Montgomery, not quite certain what lay ahead in the swirling snow, came forward cautiously with his aides and a small party. When they were within fifty yards, McQuarters touched off a three-pounder charged with grapeshot–a monstrous shotgun blast. When the smoke cleared, a dozen Americans lay sprawled in the snow. Montgomery was killed instantly. He had been the driving force in this expedition from that summer day it pushed off from Fort Ticonderoga, and this was as close as he or any of his command would come to the conquest of Canada. The rest fell back, demoralized and in disorder. Half of the American attack had been broken by a single blast.
Arnold’s attack fared a bit better, but only briefly, and its limited success would be much costlier than Montgomery’s sudden failure. His column made it through the Palace Gate and pushed on unhurt to a point known as Sault au Matelot at the western edge of the Lower Town. Here the fighting blew up into a street-by-street and house-by-house struggle, with the Americans getting much the worst of it. Arnold was at the head of the column, trying to drive men forward through a barricade on a narrow street when a rattle of musketry tumbled him into the snow with a smashed shin bone. Though Arnold was down and out of the battle early, the column behind him pressed on, in large part because big, belligerent Dan Morgan was among them–and very soon at their head. Another drive at the barricade broke it. (Morgan’s face was powder-burned and his hair was singed, but he was otherwise unhurt.) Now they were pushing on toward the heart of the Lower Town, even scooping up prisoners as they went. But sorting out the captives and trying to find their way through strange and twisting streets took time. Then, too, Morgan understood that his orders were to halt somewhere nearby and wait for a juncture with Montgomery.
In the meantime Carleton saw, as Morgan could not, that Montgomery’s attack was spent, and he began to shift his strength north. And while Morgan waited, the ring was closing all around him. The battle blew up once more. The way ahead that had been briefly open was slammed shut by musketry. Behind the Americans a detachment of redcoats marched through the Palace Gate (through which Arnold had come hours before) and began to press them from that quarter. With each narrow street a gauntlet of fire, they tried to fight their way out–and failed. By noon they were willing to admit that they had been whipped. Carleton did not offer the full honors of war, but he promised humane treatment (a promise that he kept). About one o’clock the Americans lay down their arms. Or rather, every American but Dan Morgan. He stood alone with his back against a wall and his sword in his hand. A British officer with a hundred muskets at his back stepped forward to demand the sword. “Come take it if you dare,” Morgan spat. He might well have been shot down then and there, but, seeing a priest in the crowd nearby, he turned and handed him his sword: “No scoundrel of these cowards shall take it out of my hands.” And with these defiant words the battle for Quebec was over. Morgan and some 400 others were marched off into disconsolate captivity, having come a very long and very weary way to end up in a Quebec prison house. Another hundred lay dead, the identifying pieces of paper still pinned to their caps. On some of these sodden scraps it was possible to read the motto the men had written that morning: Liberty or Death. Carleton’s losses were inconsiderable in light of the stakes: two dozen killed, wounded, and captive. For Americans the Canadian campaign had been a heroic march, a desperate battle, and a dismal defeat–the “melancholy consequences” Montgomery had foreseen.
The epilogue to this campaign dragged on through the winter and into the following spring. It was no less melancholy for the American cause. With Montreal and St. Johns still tenuously in American hands, Arnold was determined to hang on at the gates of Quebec. “I have no thought of leaving this proud town,” he wrote from a field hospital, “until I first enter it in triumph.” Airy rhetoric, to be sure, but the reality was grimly substantial: two-thirds of the original invasion force was killed, wounded, captured, or simply lost along the way. Carleton was content to let the Americans, perhaps five hundred in all, camp out beyond his walls, eat fine words, and enjoy the fresh air. (The temperature was already below zero and would get colder yet– twenty-four below one bitter night.) It is easy to say from this distance that the prudent move now was to make the best of a bad thing, fall back, rest and refit. Nor did it take a trained soldier to grasp this sound military principle: never reinforce failure. But that is precisely what Congress did, moved in part by Arnold’s frantic pleas for help and in part by its continuing infatuation with Canada. First, it raised three new regiments, one each from Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire, and sent them north. Half-trained and ill-equipped, these would not reach Canada until April. Then it began to strip regiments from Washington’s army in New England, first four, then six more. The first of these would not reach Canada until May. Ironically enough, about this time the firey Arnold was willing to admit that he was “at a loss as how to conduct matters.” With these troops Congress sent a succession of commanders–David Wooster, John Thomas, John Sullivan–none of whom knew any better than Arnold how to pry Carleton loose from Quebec.
And if Congress was now throwing good money after bad, it did not do so for want of good counsel. In March it sent a committee of very able men to see for themselves what might be achieved in the north country: Samuel Chase, a Maryland delegate; well-to-do John Carroll, likewise of Maryland; his brother John, a Jesuit priest; and finally Benjamin Franklin, the soul of reason in Congress. (Congress might have reasoned twice about risking Franklin, now seventy, by sending him on a killing mid-winter trek through the wilderness!) The Carrolls of course had been sent because, it was hoped, their Catholicism might appeal to French Canada. This hope came to nothing and less than nothing. Hard-headed, born-again Yankee Protestants had already thoroughly alienated the habitants, and those few French priests Father Carroll spoke to were promptly excommunicated by the Bishop of Quebec. But the American problem in Canada was deeper than any religious antagonism. Franklin and his colleagues were agreed in this: it was time to admit the “utter hopelessness” of bringing Canada to the American cause by persuasion. Bringing Canada into the fold by force of arms was, at least at this point, equally hopeless. The committee’s report reached Congress early in June. In Hancock’s summary: “our army in that quarter is almost ruined for Want of Discipline, and every Thing else necessary to constitute an Army.”
American affairs in that quarter were about to get worse. In the first week in May, three British men-of-war broke through the ice-choked St. Lawrence carrying the first of Carleton’s reinforcements. Carleton, patient throughout the winter, now wasted no time. He put nearly a thousand men in the field, sent them against the Americans on the Plains of Abraham, and put the wretched little band to flight with hardly a shot fired. It was run, rabbit, run, and they did not stop running until they reached Sorel at the juncture of the Richelieu and the St. Lawrence. John Thomas was now in command there, and with the four regiments just arrived from Washington’s army he managed to restore some semblance of order. But the tide was running hard against the American cause. The fugitives from Quebec had left everything behind in their headlong run–guns, ammunition, gear–everything except the smallpox virus. By the time Thomas retreated another ten miles up the Richelieu to Chambly, he commanded not an armed camp but a vast miserable smallpox ward. Thomas, in peacetime a doctor who did not believe in the new inoculation, had already broken out in smallpox blisters. On 1 June six more of Washington’s regiments marched in under Major General John Sullivan, whose arrival was timely in only one respect: he was on hand to take over when Thomas died the next day. Benedict Arnold was still in Montreal, but he no longer nourished thoughts of entering proud Quebec in triumph. As he wrote to Sullivan in no uncertain terms: “Let us quit [Canada] and secure our own country before it is too late…. There will be more honor in making a safe retreat than hazarding a battle.” It was good advice. But before that counsel reached him, the same dream that had earlier pandered to Arnold seduced Sullivan: he “could think only of a glorious Death or victory obtained against Superior numbers.”
Superior numbers there were. They were on the march up the river from Quebec: 8,000 redcoats under Major General John Burgoyne along with Indian allies impossible to count. Nevertheless, Sullivan now ordered Brigadier General William Thompson to put 2,000 men into boats and take them into battle. On 7 June they met the Regulars at Trois Rivieres on the St. Lawrence about halfway between Quebec and Montreal. The Americans–most were Pennsylvania men–fought bravely enough for a time, but they were first broken and then utterly routed. When the human wreckage finally washed up in Sullivan’s camps again, Sullivan, too, was convinced that it was it was time to quit Canada. He fell back slowly on St. Johns, Isle aux Noix, Crown Point, and finally, on 25 June, Ticonderoga: with him was nothing more than a long halting column of sick, suffering, and thoroughly demoralized men. As it happened, the last American to leave Canada was Benedict Arnold. Remaining at Montreal with a little band to the end, he put them on boats and sent them upriver. As the redcoats drew in sight, he dismounted his horse, unsaddled, and shot the beast dead. He stepped into the last boat and shoved off. Let it be fairly said that Arnold was made of stern stuff. As soon as he returned to Ticonderoga, he began writing to Washington of the urgent need to build a fleet of some kind on the lakes to repel the British water-borne invasion that was sure to come. Carleton did in fact send his fleet up Champlain that fall. Off Valcour Island about midway up the western shore, the Royal Navy met a preposterous, cobbled-together collection of whale boats, bateaux, even canoes under the command of Benedict Arnold. In a two-day battle in early October, Arnold’s flotilla, hopelessly overmatched, was smashed to the last boat. Shortly thereafter Arnold was back at Fort Ticonderoga in defeat once more: a full stop at the end of the story that John Adams called “the dismals from Canada.”
The tale could hardly be more dismal. All told, Congress had committed vast sums of money (that it did not have) and 13,000 men to the Canadian misadventure. As for manpower, 5,000 were dead or wounded. Smallpox, malaria, and dysentery sent another 3,000 home too sick to serve. Of the 5,000 who survived most were at least heartily sick of the north country and deeply dispirited (though this fact would not keep Congress from scheming in years to come for another attempt). American losses, grievous as they were, were not even the worst aspect of the fiasco. The essential strategic point of the invasion had been to secure New England’s northern flank and to keep the British from raising a “Nest of Hornets” there. But the hornets were there now and in plenty–13,000 fresh troops with the Royal Navy in support. If Congress could find a light in this darkness, it was from an unexpected source. Perhaps fearing the onset of an early winter, Sir Guy Carleton had not pushed on to Ticonderoga or even the headwaters of the Hudson after smashing Arnold at Valcour Island. As for the ultimate cause of his hesitancy, however, thoughtful men and women may call it what they will: it was the grit, the resilience, the simple, soft-spoken courage of the soldiers who had carried their cause to the gates of Quebec and back again.